Castellaneta will play Ugarte in the reading, which will be presented May 1 at California's Pantages Theatre. The actor joins a company that includes the previously announced Hal Sparks (as Jan Brandel), Rene Auberjonois (as Berger), Bruce Davison (as Emil) Andre De Shields (as Sam), Sir Ben Kingsley (as Louie Renault), Theodore Bikel (as Carl), James Cromwell (as Major Strasser), Edward Hermann (as Signor Ferrari) and Jennifer Tilly (as Yvonne). (Tommy Lee Jones, Eric Szmanda, Neil Patrick Harris and Michael York, who were originally announced to be part of the reading, have withdrawn from the cast.) The 4 PM reading of the landmark Warner Bros. screenplay — adapted by David Rambo — will benefit the Actors' Fund of America. "Casablanca" follows acclaimed readings of "All About Eve" and "Sunset Boulevard." Peter Hunt will direct the reading of the new stage take on the screenplay by Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch.
The Morocco-set story of "Casablanca" follows the chance meeting of an American exile night club owner and his former love at the titular gateway city during World War II. The film — starring Bogart and Ingrid Bergman — won 1944 Academy Awards for Best Director (Michael Curtiz), Best Picture (Hal B. Wallis) and Best Writing (Epstein, Epstein and Koch).
The Actors' Fund of America is the only national non-profit organization that provides for the social welfare of all entertainment professionals. For more information, visit www.actorsfund.org.
The Pantages Theater is located at 6233 Hollywood Boulevard. Tickets, priced $28-$153, are available through The Actors’ Fund by calling (323) 933 9244, ext. 54 or 35. Sponsorship/VIP packages, priced $250-$25,000, are also available.